Why Bringing Back the Windows Start Menu Will Help Microsoft Stock

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) is bringing back the Windows "Start" menu in the newest version of the operating system, TechCrunch reports. Fool contributor Tim Beyers explains why it's a smart move in the following video.

First, the change comes at a good time. Microsoft plans to stop supporting Windows XP machines next week, which means -- without an upgrade -- upwards of 15% of the worldwide installed base of Microsoft-powered PCs could be at risk as of April 8. Adding back the Windows "Start" menu gives those on the fence yet another reason to move to the latest edition now.

Meanwhile, those who've been with Windows for years are being actively enticed to cheaper options, such as Ubuntu Linux. Call it a tough squeeze in an already-tightening market. Researcher IDC says PC shipments fell 9.8% last year and should continue to decline through 2018.

There's also the cloud to consider.  And Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG  ) (NASDAQ: GOOGL  ) increasingly beefy line of cheap Chromebooks, which the company is outfitting with free or cheap productivity software. Giving longtime Windows users a taste of the familiar may curtail defections as new CEO Satya Nadella figures out a strategy for stabilizing the $18 billion a year Windows business.

Now it's your turn to weigh in. Do you like Microsoft's move to bring back the Windows "Start" menu in version 8.1? Do you think it'll make a difference? Please leave a comment below to let us know what you think.

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Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On April 04, 2014, at 11:00 PM, Suradit wrote:

    I had Windows 7 32 bit O/S on a computer than died this week. Bought a new computer and went for Windows 7 64 bit, but did not want to consider Windows 8 after reading so many negative editorial reviews and user comments.

    I expect at this point tweaking Windows 8 might help, but (like Vista) it already has acquired a negative reputation, so attempts to put lipstick on it may just confirm that it's got issues.

  • Report this Comment On April 04, 2014, at 11:18 PM, Alan4347 wrote:

    It's a wise move for MS to restore widely adopted and user friendly Windows 7 interface in light of the pretty dramatic failure of the non-intuitive 8.1 interface. Given the learning curve required by 8.1 (at least by me) and the notorious reputation it earned overnight, it seemed like an open invitation for MS users to try another operating system, namely Apple. I have three computers on my desk, each with a different operating system: Windows 7, 8.1 and an Apple OS, and 8.1 is the most challenging and non-intuitive of the three. While the touch feature of 8.1 is a strong plus, it can't overcome the otherwise convoluted navigation features of 8.1. Now, a touch feature with Windows 7 would be dynamite. I'll bet there are a few million others out there who would agree. My guess is that such a move will eventually be worth several points for MSFT, a company with a bit of an arrogant air and user insensitivity.

  • Report this Comment On April 04, 2014, at 11:45 PM, theeseer wrote:

    I just returned a windows 8 computer and the problems go far deeper than the "start" menu. It goes to the heart of the problem with the whole company.

    1. Lousy service while Apple has service in their Apple stores and Samsung has service in Best Buy.

    2., Mr. Softy has too many competitors that read and write their programs for free. Open Office, Google Docs etc. Their feeble and arrogant attempt to use .docx to stem the tide is a failure and insulting to existing users.

    4. MS word is a complicated mess and difficult to navigate and format.

    5. Lastly when I have actually paid for support I knew more than the tech.

    6. I'm on my last MS computers.

    7. Arrogance Arrogance Arrogance etc etc etc.

  • Report this Comment On April 05, 2014, at 9:17 AM, groberys116 wrote:

    Windows 8.1 , except for the lack of the start button, operates the same as Windows 7. Windows 8.1 is faster then Windows 7. Price parity a Lenovo yoga pro 2 laptop compared to a comparably equipped Mac pro is $1000 cheaper and has a higher resolution screen than the Mac pro's so called retinal screen.

  • Report this Comment On April 05, 2014, at 10:05 AM, Dalya11 wrote:

    I've had Windows for years and because of the negative reviews, I didn't upgrade to 8. My hard drive quit three weeks ago and rather than buy a new PC (would have been cheaper) with 8, I bought a solid state replacement drive and reloaded 7. Had Windows 9 been available, I would have bought a new computer. 8 was just too different. That's why PC sales have declined. 8 is probably fine for tablets, but I like feeling as though I have some control over the working of my computer.

  • Report this Comment On April 05, 2014, at 2:23 PM, djtetsu wrote:

    Just having fun ranting here.. but they seem to me as they haven't admitted to them botching things up with WIndows 8. They out right denied people of things they loved about Windows 7. If I was a CEO I would begin with getting away from the name Windows 8 as much as possible. I would've called it Windows 7PLUS. Yes they are going back, but heck let's not kid ourselves here, Windows 8 was f**ked up, and only a small minority is using the touch with the keyboard/mouse combo (the two products aren't happily married). Give people the choice between the two, the 7PLUS pretty much being 7 but offering options for some touch capabilities but not a forced emersion.

  • Report this Comment On April 05, 2014, at 4:22 PM, brittlerock wrote:

    I just don't get it. Must go back to the founders. Gates was a hacker, Jobs was a designer.

    I've been a Microsoft customer going all the way back to DOS with a command line interface. But why they consistently make the user interface difficult is just beyond me.

    I got a Zune years ago, the user interface was a beast - it wasn't difficult to play stuff, but transferring music files always seemed to just not work the way you would expect, especially if you want to transfer a file from the Zune to a PC, it was just absurd.

    They need to hire a bunch of people who have no technical expertise whatsoever and let them tell the developers what's wrong with the products before they unleash them on the public.

  • Report this Comment On April 06, 2014, at 1:58 PM, zspeed74xr wrote:

    There has been a Windows button (with identical functionality as the Start button) on every keyboard shipped for the last 15 years. It is on the bottom left between the Alt and Control keys. MSFT probably figured that people would be using it by now as it is much faster to press it and start typing the name of application than to try to navigate through all those menus to find the app you want.

    Let me tell you another trick. Pin the apps you use frequently to the task bar.

  • Report this Comment On April 06, 2014, at 2:31 PM, crca99 wrote:

    I will be happy to see the classic windows start button and operations return. All the Office applications have a problem with upgrades. MS throws out the familiar and useful just to make changes that often turn out to be annoying, aggravating, and frustrating to relearn. I passed on two MS personal devices because I didn't want the software. I dread the day that work computers will be changed.

  • Report this Comment On April 07, 2014, at 2:58 AM, aldousworp wrote:

    I agree. I have XP, 7, Linux Lite, and a Chromebook. My wife has a new HP laptop with 8.1. 8.1 causes the most headaches. We use a browser and media player a lot. For everything else we have to hunt for something like the old start menu so we can browse the list of programs. We often don't know the name to search for - we just know we'll recognize it when we see it. I can't even find Freecell on 8.1!!! That's about the only thing I miss on the Linux Lite PC I'm typing this on. I'm sure there must be a version for Linux if I thought it was worth the time to find it.

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